Gibson 1938 ES150

1938 Gibson ES150 guitar and 1941 EH150 amplifier.
December 1944, King Cole Trio.
August 1944 photo featuring a late '30's ES-150 being played in the King Cole Trio.
1938 ES150 with Geib case.
Geib guitar case label.
1945 ad for Geib instrument cases.
Gibson's first electric guitar; 1936-1939.
Pictured with its close relative, the ETG150, electric tenor guitar. Click the button below to check out the ETG-150.
Although the ES150 came out in 1936, it was first mentioned in 1937's Catalog X, along with EH150, EH100 and EH150 amp.
Very first ad for the ES150.
Gibson Catalog X, 1937.
1942 Gibson Catalog BB.
1939 Gibson System for Guitar.

The above photo is a beautiful example of Gibson's early electrics. Along with the late '30's ES150, Gibson also made the ES100, ES250, ETG150 (electric tenor guitar), EM150 (electric mandolin), EM100, and ETB150(electric tenor banjo). Almost all of these instruments are found on this site.

The above photo comes from Gibson's Mastertone System For Steel Guitar, 1940. The system came in 4 parts with 12 pieces of sheet music lessons per part. Each part was assigned a color for varying degrees of difficulty. The colors were, peach, blue, magenta and orange. To view the learning systems, just click Gibson sheet music. 

Solid carved spruce top, ebony bridge, bakelite tone & volume knobs, 'Charlie Christian' bar pickup, unique single bound, notched celluloid pickgaurd, 19 frets and small f-holes.
1942 Gibson Catalog BB.
ES-150 and 3rd generation EH-150 amp pictured above. Please click the button below to see more prewar pics.
Nickel bracket mounting the pickguard to the body.
1939 Gibson Catalog AA ad for ES250 & ES150.
1939 Catalog AA
Plain headstock with no ornamentation and pearl 'Gibson' inlay.
Letter 'D' signifying 1938, followed with serial #.
'Spann's Guide To Gibson 1902-1941', Joesph Spann.

An interesting aspect of working on this site is the fact that I have the chance to photograph, document and write about the pieces in my collection. It is a continual state of learning (consulting Gibson books, literature and catalogs for facts).As I document, sometimes questions present themselves.

The above ES150, my first electric prewar Gibson, purchased from Elderly Instruments in Southern California was purchased as a refinish. All of the components (inside and out) are period correct for one of the first Gibson electric Guitars.

What is interesting, according to the chart above by Joesph Spann, is that the letters 'DG' would be a 1938 Gibson (non-electric) and 'DGE' would be a 1938 Gibson electric.

Joe Spann did notice this guitar on the site and stated, 'it is extremely odd that this guitar's serial number does not start with a three-letter-prefix, as would be correct for an original ES-150. The serial number should start with DGE, not DG.' He did consult the actual Gibson books and added, 'according to the original Gibson shipping ledgers DG-2053 (my guitar) was an ES-150 shipped on 14 April 1938 to Spence Music Company of Zanesville, Ohio in a #534 case.'

What is interesting is that Mr. Spann did note, for example another guitar, (serial number DG-2078) was a non-electric L-50 shipped on 10 August 1938 (according to the original ledgers). Both the L-50 and ES-150 have the exact same features, sans the electronics on the L-50. According to Joe Spann's chart above, my ES-150, stamped with DG-2053 (not DGE) may have been destined to be a regular L-50. However, since both L-50 and ES-150 are essentially the same, my guitar may have been pre-stamped with an L-50 serial number, but used as an ES-150. None-the-less, it is great to be able to include the facts on this guitar thanks to factual information from the original Gibson shipping ledgers. 

David Barbour playing his ES-150. Metronome article August, 1946.
1936-1939 ES150 AND 1939-1940 ES250 models were the only Gibson electrics to ever have the input jack in the base of the tailpiece....EVER.
Base of tailpiece with input jack.
1939-1940 ES250 tailpiece with input jack located on the base. Only 1939-1940 ES250 and 1936-1939 ES150 tailpieces have input jack at the base.
Single-bound maple back. Note the back is flat. Starting in 1940, the back was arched maple; note photo below. And yes, I just noticed my reflection in the guitar!
Comparison of 1938 ES150 flat back with the newer arched back of the 1941 ES150.
Interestingly there is a large crack on the top of this ES-150. Many surviving ES-150's have repaired cracks which is a very common attribute to these instruments.
September 1944 ad for Benny Carter and The King Cole Trio.